Kevlar belt tyres for Germany, new tyres for Hungary

2013 German Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Pirelli have confirmed they will use their prototype tyres for this weekend’s German Grand Prix following the series of failures seen at Silverstone.

F1’s official tyre supplier previously tried to introduce the revised constructions following the delaminations which occurred at the Spanish Grand Prix. But the move was blocked by Ferrari, Lotus and Force India, who claimed the change would make it harder for them to be competitive.

The tyres, which use Kevlar belts instead of steel ones, have been tested by the teams during practice at the last two races. But both days’ running were affected by rain, limiting the opportunity teams had to evaluate them properly.

In light of the failures seen at Silverstone, which Pirelli blame on multiple factors, Kevlar-belted rear tyres will be used at the German Grand Prix. The front tyres will remain unchanged.

At the following race in Hungary Pirelli will introduce a new range of tyres which will combine the structure, construction and belts used in 2012 with the compounds used on the 2013 tyres.

The revised tyres will be tested at Silverstone on July 17th to 19th. This was originally designated as a Young Drivers Test until the FIA ruled yesterday that race drivers could participate in it for the purpose of tyre testing.

The replacement tyres will be symmetrical in construction, unlike the current ones which are not. Pirelli suspect the teams’ practice of swapping tyres between the left and right-hand sides of the tyres is one of the factors which contributed to the Silverstone failures. Pirelli says teams will be “strictly forbidden” to swap the tyres over.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez all suffered tyre failures during the British Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso were among those who narrowly avoided similar failures and some drivers were showered with debris when tyres exploded at high speed.

“What happened at Silverstone was completely unexpected and it was the first time that anything like this has ever occurred in more than a century of Pirelli in motorsport,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery.

“These incidents, which have upset us greatly, have stressed the urgency of the changes that we already suggested – which will be introduced during for free practice in Germany on Friday.

“We would like to acknowledge the willingness of the FIA, FOM teams, and drivers to act quickly to find an immediate solution to the problem.

“In particular, the adoption of winter tests, arranged with the FIA, that are more suitable for tyre development and the possibility of carrying out in-season testing will contribute to the realisation of tyres with increasingly improved standards of safety and performance. I’d like to re-emphasise the fact that the 2013 range of tyres, used in the correct way, is completely safe.

“What happened at Silverstone though has led us to ask for full access to real-time tyre data to ensure the correct usage and development of tyres that have the sophistication we were asked to provide and extremely high performance that has lowered lap times by more than two seconds on average. While we wait for a change in the rules, we will introduce tyres that are easier to manage.”

2013 German Grand Prix

    Browse all 2013 German Grand Prix articles

    Image © Pirelli/LAT

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    64 comments on “Kevlar belt tyres for Germany, new tyres for Hungary”

    1. All of which raises the question: if Kevlar is safer, why wasn’t that used all season?

      1. steel is WAY cheaper.

      2. A better way to put it would be that Kevlar is horrendously expensive

      3. Both what @ferrox-glider and @hamilfan mention is defenitely a part of it.
        Although the change to a steel belt also had to do with the teams wish to have a more flat contact patch.
        If you remember, last year teams noticed that the tyre wore especially in the middle, and they asked Pirelli to make one that would be flatter on top (and therefore have more flexible side walls). To achieve that, it was needed to make a more rigid contact patch, and Pirelli opted for steel because it would be easier to get that effect with a steel belt (and likely cheaper)

    2. So for Hungary, will the front tyres be 2012 or 2013 spec?

      I guess the mandatory weight limit will have to be changed as well cos 2013 tyres are heavier

      This is gonna be a real headache for the engineers with all the aerodynamics of tyre squash and the suspension settings too

      1. It’s 2012 tyres with 2013 compounds essentially, so they should behave in a similar way to the current tyres only they won’t be completely useless and explode for no reason.

        1. Sorry, I meant the construction of the front tyres, does anyone know?

          1. No it’s me who should apologise, I misread @sdtaylor91! The rear tyres for Hungary will be the revised construction with the Kevlar belts but the front tyres will remain unchanged – so they will have the same steel belts as the tyres used on Silverstone and every race so far this season.

            1. Yeah but the 2013 tyres are half a second quicker than the 2012 ones. I don’t know whether that’s down to construction or compounds but it’s gonna create some kind of imbalance that the teams would have to fix

              Tyre life is surely gonna be different for the 2012 and 2013 constructions, and that’s gonna make the car very oversteery or understeery over a race stint.

              I can only imagine that the fronts would have to be 2012 spec. It’s just that a huge amount of aero development is based around the tyres squashing under load, its gonna create such a headache for the teams, but it has to be done.

              It sounds like Pirelli are trying to spin their way out of guilt by saying the 2013 tyres have been used wrong and that they are actually safe .. teams swapping rears, running very low pressures etc etc …

              If that’s the case, then why not make a rule forcing teams to abide by Pirelli’s recommended settings? I know I’m an armchair expert here but it doesn’t add up. Maybe Pirelli don’t want bad press and so they can say that the 2013 tyres are safe and when they’re changed, nobody can say otherwise

            2. I wonder what Guiterez thinks about this. Wasn’t it his front left tyre that exploded at the end of Hanger straight?

            3. @sdtaylor91 these aren’t 2012 rears though, these are prototype tyres for Germany! Besides, it’s the compounds that are making the tyres faster as they provide more grip so I don’t think speed will be an issue but inevitably there’ll be some imbalances (although nothing which couldn’t be fixed with set-up changes I wouldn’t think).

      2. You are correct that there will be some things to work out for the engineers and the FIA. Funny how quickly things can happen though when disaster strikes.

        No doubt this decision is likely to affect some teams favorably or adversely as far as performance. Nearly anything is better than a repeat of exploding tires.

    3. I applaud this decision and hope that it is a true remedy, not merely a face saving gesture. It is most fortunate that it did not take death or injuries for this decision to come about. There will be a lot of finger pointing comments toward Pirelli, the teams, Formula 1 and the FIA, but there is enough blame to go around for all. It is far better to find solutions such as more testing for this season and next, which is already happening, thank goodness. Whatever it takes to stay as safe as possible is the only true solution. The sport is lucky that this played out with no bloodshed and now the pinnacle of motor racing can have a real plan for safer tires.

      As I already stated, all parties involved are responsible, not just one entity. Let’s move forward. Having said that, let the blame game begin, you know it will…

      1. strongly agree with this. better to just fix the issue and get on with what the type of things f1 is all about rather than making all parties look foolish

      2. +Over 9000.

    4. So Pirelli’s 2013 tyres produce their fastest lap times outside of their safe operating window………. then Pirelli blame the teams for doing it. Do they understand the concept of competition? I wonder how they would get on with that attitude if they were against another manufacturer rather than a sole supplier?

    5. So does Mercedes still sit out this new test? Even though it isn’t the young driver test anymore

        1. So can Mercedes do another tyre test, like Bernie said everybody could do ?

          1. I think they can. In theory they could spend the days others are running the YDT at Magny cours with development tyres!

            1. your kidding :P !

          2. That would be logical, but this is F1, so it’s hard to tell.

    6. Pirelli should be fired.

      1. What the hell is wrong with everyone jumping on the “Pirelli’s fault” bandwagon? It would be ridiculously easy for Pirelli to build rock solid tyres that lasts the entire race distance. But the FIA wanted Pirelli to supply teams with tyres that doesn’t last long to improve the entertainment and show. Pirelli delivered tyres that they were not allowed to test with an updated car. Now, whose fault is it? Pirelli did what they were asked to do by the FIA. The only problem was they had to guess whether or not the tyres would be ok for use by the latest F1 cars.

        1. Absolutely, the decision for 2-3 stop races was the FIA’s, not Pirelli’s.
          Pirelli has been forced to develop ever more fragile tyres because f1 teams will simply engineer their way out of the problem.
          If you want to see how long tyres can last, check out the world endurance championship, a set of lmp1 tyres will easily do 2 hours of racing at pretty much any circuit

          1. The FIA wanted the tyres to degrade quicker, not make them more fragile. There’s a big difference between wear rate and structural failure.

            1. The structural failure came from the tyres being too aggressive which is a result of pirrelli adhering to FIA’s ideas.

        2. @rojov123

          There are two bandwagons, “Pirelli’s fault” and “FIA fault”. IMHO, I think both are to blame.

          Sure Pirelli constructed fragile tyres because FIA asked them to, but I doubt the governing body so obsessed with security demanded tyres that explode occasionally! That’s a construction failure.

          Pirelli should, rightly, argue that FIA must change their rules allowing more testing with current cars. But to say FIA demanded those “bombs” is not correct.

          When I ask my steak well done and someone serves it burned, it’s not my fault!

          1. You didn’t simply ask for a steak well done. You asked for a steak well done, which should look charred and burned, but should taste like medium rare. You simply won’t get both.

      2. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
        3rd July 2013, 7:18


        Because they are trying to provide F1 with the exact tyres the FIA wants without being afforded any sort of relevant testing whatsoever? Its not rocket-science. Even a hypodermic needle has to be tested for hours to make sure it performs exactly as it needs to be without being unsafe. Let alone a tyre that is supposed to handle 4G lateral and 5G longitudinal loads while being strong enough not to disintegrate but soft enough to degrade as required.

        Or is it because they are still sticking on with F1 well knowing that their brand image is taking a big hit with the current state of things even though they are trying to do a job the best they possibly can? They can only test with a car that is three generations old and completely irrelevant to modern F1. With this limited testing they try to produce fancy tyres that the FIA wants, and when that doesn’t work out well, they are bashed. They could have stuck to the 2012 tyres but knowing that the teams have got over the tyres, we would soon see 1 stop races (again not what the FIA wants), they try something new and different but all the while firing in the dark with regards to testing them.

        I’m sure the management at Pirelli had to make some pretty tough decisions after Silverstone and I wont be surprised if they decide to call it quits next season. But their current level of commitment to F1 in itself is praiseworthy.

        Agreed there have been some bad decisions. The Pirelli-Mercedes secret test was – to use the most polite word – a fiasco.
        Yes, I dont like the current tyres and the kind of racing it produces while being unsafe. But just holding Pirelli responsible for it is not right.

        For me, Pirelli may not be making the best tyres right now, but as a company they are impressive.

      3. And then what @dujedcv?

        Keep in mind that for next year Pirelli have already confirmed that they will not be doing anything fancy to try and create pitstops (largely because they lack the options to test any such tyres for next years cars, but also because the cars themselves should be enough of a handful already).

        That means that for next year we get much what everyone who criticized the “tyres made to go off” idea asked for already. Currently Pirelli are doing their best in a pretty complicated position, because on the one hand they are responsible, but on the other hand they cannot influence everything the teams do with the tyres and car developments.

    7. “What happened at Silverstone was completely unexpected and it was the first time that anything like this has ever occurred in more than a century of Pirelli in motorsport,” said motorsport director Paul Hembery.

      Oh really Paul? 9 Pirelli failures in a Ferrari Race, all left rear failures too. I went to that race and it was a joke of a race that I got my money back! I guess these sharp kerbs seem to come around when convenient.

      Despite the fact other categories have no issue racing on them in the WEC where they double if not tripple stint their tyres F1 can’t handle 8 laps, year must be the kerbs, despite the fact it happened in bahrain too.

      1. @capefear
        Why don’t we all just agree that it was a combination of weak tyres hitting sharper kerbs at higher speeds than in previous races of this season

        1. Raikonnen agrees, and he is in the box seat.

    8. If they had stuck with a kevlar belt instead of switching to a steel belt we never would have seen any problems with this years tyres.

      The steel belt means the tyres run at higher temperatures & are more prone to overheating. It also makes the tyre structure more rigid which is perhaps why the 2013 tyres to date have been more prone to suffering damage.

      As far as I can tell there was never any need to make a move to a steel belt, There was nothing wrong with the 2011/2012 tyres so was never any reason to make the significant changes Pirelli decided to make.

      1. There wasn’t but it was a conscious decision because they wantedthe tyres to degrade thermally. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with simply retaining the 2012 tyres but Pirelli just tried too hard to “spice up the racing” and it’s come back to bite them – majorly.

        1. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
          3rd July 2013, 7:24

          I saw absolutely nothing wrong with simply retaining the 2012 tyres but Pirelli just tried too hard to “spice up the racing” and it’s come back to bite them – majorly.

          Lets look at it in a different way. Pirelli knew that the teams have “deciphered” the 2012 tyres. Had they stuck on to them, teams would be very well capable of doing 1-stop races in 2013. Not what the FIA wants and then we would complain again that F1 is boring. So they tried something new. Nothing wrong with that right?

      2. As far as I can tell there was never any need to make a move to a steel belt

        Apparently the steel ones are also cheaper to make, so there you have it!!!

        1. @mantresx it’d also be cheaper to use solid rubber tyres likely!

          1. Nope, that would be more expensive @vettel1, rubber is not that cheap anymore, the air inside is far cheaper than making a solid!

            1. @bascb true enough, maybe solid wood then? ;)

            2. Hm, I can see some advantages in that. But we would ask the FIA to mandate only use of common woods (certainly no tropical woods!).

              I can see the teams doing all sorts of things with temperatures, pressures and temperature to give them lower friction, or higher grip etc. And we could even run on snow, just need to put nails in :-)

      3. As far as I can tell there was never any need to make a move to a steel belt, There was nothing wrong with the 2011/2012 tyres so was never any reason to make the significant changes Pirelli decided to make.

        Correct me if I am wrong GT_Racer (or anyone else), but wasn’t Pirelli reacting to complaints that the wear was only in the middle of the tyre and teams asked them to make tyres with a flatter profile (so more of the contact patch could be used)?
        To do this, Pirelli came up with the steel carcass and softer side walls because its more rigid contact patch (keeping it flat on the track), so its not as if they just set about to mess with everything by themselves (although cost of steel vs. Kevlar might have played a role too) just for the sake of changing things.

    9. I know a lot of finger pointing will go towards pirelli.but let us not forget that pirelli tyres have made the current season more intriguing and competitive than last season.

    10. I was a bit worried they may not have enough tyres ready for Germany, but it seems we can go racing relatively safely.

      I’m quite miffed, though, about Mercedes missing this test which is becoming more and more important. I realize I’m in a minority here, and that many people probably think “Ha! Serves them right!” They will now miss three, possibly four (has it been confirmed yet whether the ‘YDT’ will be extended by one day?) of proper testing, on new tyres, so they have to drive in Hungary on tyres that they have zero data on! All for three days running around blind to help out Pirelli – which was not unnecessary, as it turns out.

      1. Well, i agree with you, so the “minority” is growing – albeint only by one person! I cannot believe Mercedes took this one ling down. I suspect there is a lot of wheeling/dealing going on behind the scenes.
        The FIA did not want another public round of argue/wrangling with Merc over this issue – as technically, YDT is no longer a YDT (by one day anyway), so Mercedes certainly have the right to participate; any court will find in their favour on the issue. Therefore i am sure Merc has been offered a sweetener not to make a fuss – maybe Pirelli presents them all the data garnered at the test afterwards?

      2. I’m very much with you on this @adriammorse

      3. They should have thought about the possible consequences before they cheated. As things stand, they still got off lightly.

    11. This could be a good race at the Nürburgring – not too many pit stops, and the teams won’t have had a chance to simulate the life out of the new tyres (I bet the simulator drivers will have some long days ahead – especially Anthony Davidson at Mercedes, if it’s true that Toyota have withdrawn his no.8 car from the rest of the WEC – bummer)

      But I suspect Race Control will be trigger-happy with the Safety Car again (as they were when Vettel retired at Silverstone) to discourage teams from running too long on a set of tyres…

      1. I wouldn’t call race-control trigger-happy but 3 extra laps while the lapped cars unlap themselves or whatever it is they do is ridiculous and needs fixing.

    12. spectacles not specticals

    13. Am I the only one who has enough?
      I loved F1 since I watched my first season in 1992 when I was 9 years old. But the sport has gone wrong in so many directions that I find it really hard to take. Sometimes I deeply want to cry when I think about the state of F1.

      Then I imagine just erasing F1 and rebuilt it from scratch. A kind of “F1 2.0”. With working tyres. Without DRS, maybe with more KERS, maybe leading the way in technology by becoming fully electric. Maybe with less aerodynamic and more robust cars. With cars that are fast, safe and just great looking. It would be without Bernie for sure, but with someone leading the show who has a deep love for the sport (hey, whatever that means…). This new F1 would also run in Bathurst, on the Nordschleife, in Le Mans, maybe in Indy or Daytona. The cars would be driven by the best drivers in the world, not by guys who (only) have rich sponsors. You, as a fan, could buy affordable tickets for races, you could visit the pits and get in touch with the drivers and other team members. There would be a YouTube channel with all the FPs, Qs and races, maybe a live stream for little money.
      Sometimes I really wish F1 as it is now would die and from it’s ashes something fantastic would arise.

      Sorry if I am off topic here, but maybe you, my fellow F1 fans, do feel what I feel.
      I am btw. fully aware that this all misery is just some stupid “1st world problem”, but hey…

      1. I agree with your sentiments,if not with your solutions. btw 92 was right about when it started going wrong.

    14. The German GP is shaping up to be another Mercedes win, as it will be run on tyres they tested in Barcelona.

    15. now RBR can be dominant like in 2012. no stopping them now.

      1. RBR were hardly dominant in 2012.

      2. You mean 2011??

        1. You mean 2010?

          In 2011, Vettel was dominant. Not Red Bull.
          IN 2010, Red Bull was dominant. Not Vettel.

    16. This will play into the hands of Red Bull. The tyre proposed for this weekend is expected to run approximately 10 Deg C cooler than the one used up to now, because steel is removed from the equation. It would imply that the tyre deg should be lower. This will apply to Merc as well.

      Ferrari can kiss their chances good bye now. Fernando will have to wait another year again. I predict a RBR win this weekend, with Mercs on the podium unless something breaks of course.

      1. most likely to help Merc, who have had their tires overheating the most, given their qualifying pace, they could now be potential race winners every race. First they didn’t get penalized harsh enough, then it seemed like all was square with the other teams getting testing at YDT, now it seems Merc has won out for a second time … time will tell, but I think during the YDT, the other top teams will have to work more on aero and other parts of the car then tires, as this change in tires will probably give merc a bigger boost then 2000km of testing.

    17. Steve McGrath (@)
      3rd July 2013, 9:30

      “The replacement tyres will be symmetrical in construction, unlike the current ones which are not”…
      Are they saying that their tyres aren’t even round???

    18. “At the following race in Hungary Pirelli will introduce a new range of tyres which will combine the structure, construction and belts used in 2012 with the compounds used on the 2013 tyres. ”

      I wonder how the teams will cope with tyres that have characteristics of both 2012 and 2013

    19. If the tires run cooler also get at the warm sweet spot faster, don’t they ? If so means over heating them will be easier, even in cool Germany, doubt will benefit either Redbull or Mercedes. Ferrari, Lotus and Maclaren should benefit which makes better show and there you have it. Whatever happens is a one race off, then everything will change again next race ! At least making it more unpredictable WCC.

    Comments are closed.